Black History Month 2015: A Tribute to Legacies in the Black Community
Every year we celebrate the accomplishments that are so often overlooked by the dominate culture in the short month of February. We call February Black History month because we concentrate on recognizing the contributions of folks from the black diaspora. We post the accolades of those who are doing great things. We celebrate through community and faith based gatherings.
It is inspiring to note the great sung and unsung heroes that have opened doors, developed resources and blazed trails that have changed the lives of so many. Each year we celebrate the lives of those trailblazers that have made their final transition. We are reminded with the great movie, Selma, that there is a great cost to changing the world. Many of us are not able or willing to pay that great a price.
Yet, each of us has the capacity to blaze trails. Each of us has the capacity to build a legacy. It is not only those millionaires, sports stars or inventors. Each of us can touch and transform the life of another by caring, listening and planning.
My commitment is to support folks to build a legacy. I have the opportunity to volunteer with AARP as a facilitator for the Life Reimagined workshop. This is a seminar that supports people in transition to continue to dream, renew their dreams or to simply dream again. We have so many opportunities to build our legacies. There isn’t an end date for building. As a matter of fact, estate planning creates an opportunity to build a legacy even after the final transition. In this workshop we discuss the gifts, passion and values that we have and package those unique attributes to create a Life that is Reimagined for the future. As Langston Hughes stated, Hold Fast to dreams for if dreams die Life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly.
A favorite African American (s)hero of mine is Osceola McCarty. She was a washer woman born in 1908, who dropped out of school at sixth grade to work. She died with no children but through a Trust she created a scholarship fund for the University of Southern Mississippi that would benefit primarily African American students who were facing financial obstacles to attending college. She also donated to her church and her family. Ms. McCarty was thoughtful and strategic. Her giving was not as a result of her great wealth but of her mindfulness that she wanted to be a blessing and made sacrifices to facilitate that outcome.
The key is not to wait to begin building. Your legacy is your lasting message that goes beyond the grave but is always available to build. We each are gifted with skills that have brought us thus far. We are fueled by passions that compel us to act, and we are shaped by values that make us care. I encourage you that as African Americans that dream, build the legacy that you want to foster and shape the world that you want to see.
Washington Informer Article – February 2015